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Mischief Makers opening and closing01:01

Mischief Makers opening and closing

Mischiefmakers

WOR Channel 9 Promo

Mischief Makers was a syndicated television series that featured edited versions of the Pathé Our Gang silent shorts, as well as shorts from The Dippy Doo Dads and several rival Our Gang series (Mickey McGuire, Buster Brown, Hey Fellas!). The series debuted in 1960 and ended in 1961. However, some North American television stations continued to show the series well into the 1970's, and some foreign markets carried the series during the 1980's, and even as late as the 2000's. The series was offered to television stations with optional commentary by two children (referred to as "Bobby" and "Bunny"). At least eighty episodes were produced, seventy two of which featured Our Gang material.

Format

Each episode ran around thirteen minutes. The opening theme song ("Hip, Hip, Hooray!") featured an animated sequence of a group of kids (who were most likely inspired by Joe Cobb, Mary Kornman, and Mickey Daniels) and a dog (who was clearly inspired by Pete the Pup). Narrated versions featured an announcer's voice over the first few seconds of the theme song (saying, "The Mischief Makers! With Bobby and Bunny!").

The theme song would be followed by a newly made title card (none of the shorts shown retained their original titles); narrated versions were introduced by one or both of the kids.

A typical episode featured twelve and a half minutes of an edited "Our Gang" silent short, projected at a faster speed, with carnival-like music and loud sound effects playing throughout. Normally, an episode would focus most of its attention on the second half of the film, with only a small part of the first half retained. Original title cards were rarely retained, but there were exceptions with a few episodes. However, most episodes featured at least one title card added by the Mischief Makers editors, usually to bridge the first and second halves of the film.

The lack of title cards made the plots harder for viewers to follow. As a result, a narration was added; Narrators "Bobby" and "Bunny" would provide commentary for the films by talking directly to each other (rather than to the viewers). Most of the Our Gang kids (Mickey, Farina, Mary, Ernie, Jackie, Johnny) were referred to by their usual names. Strangely, the narrators always called Joe Cobb "Joey". Most of the other kids were given new nicknames (Jack Davis became "Rocky", Sing Joy become "Sumo", Mango became "Snowball", Jay R. Smith became "Freckles"). Some television stations aired the series without narration.

Oftentimes, material removed from various Our Gang shorts would later be edited together to make a 'hybrid' episode. Films from Hal Roach's all-animal series, The Dippy Doo Dads also made appearances on the show, as did several rival Our Gang shorts. A number of Buster Brown comedies (featuring Pete the Pup, whom the narrators referred to as "Sparky") were featured, as were a handful of Mickey McGuire and Hey Fellas comedies. Occasionally, footage from another series would be edited with a small amount of footage from an Our Gang footage in order to provide an explanation for the inclusion of non-Our Gang material (the usual explanation was that the group of kids from another series were part of a rival gang called "The Trouble Makers"). At least one short from a proposed Sunshine Sammy series made an appearance on the show.

Most episodes would end with an instrumental version of "Hip, Hip, Hooray!". The end credits would feature a reprise of the theme song (with slightly different lyrics) playing over the end credits.

The series led to a spin-off, Comedy Capers.

Episode List

Below is an incomplete episode guide, and the films from which each episode derived.

Episode With Unknown Production Numbers:

  • "Monkey Mischief" - (Scenes from The Big Show, most likely combined with scenes from at least one other film).
  • "The Monkey Story"
  • "Rival Circus"
  • "Sparky at School" - (Unknown Buster Brown comedy)
  • "Summer Daze" - (Buster Brown in Knockout Buster)
  • "Sparky's Picnic" - (Presumably a Buster Brown comedy)
  • "Sparky the Star" - (Unknown Buster Brown comedy)

Comedy Capers

After production on Mischief Makers ended in 1961, a spin-off series, Comedy Capers was developed. Comedy Capers featured several silent comedies produced by Hal Roach and rival Mack Sennett, with Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Ben Turpin, Harry Langdon, Billy Bevan, and The Keystone Cops headlining the series. The opening theme song featured clips from Our Gang shorts Official Officers and Playin' Hookey.

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